"In-depth Clinical Training Program for Mental Health Specialists in Palestine”

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A local and cultural psychotherapy development program combining theory with practice, with the aim of creating a human resource basis and a sustainable mental health infrastructure in the West Bank that is capable of delivering high-quality mental health services. This program is implemented by Sunna Al-Amal in partnership with Al-Quds University - Department of Public Health - and jointly funded by MISEREOR and CARITAS Shweiz.

The program has been implemented based on high demands for mental health interventions, shortage of well-trained qualified specialists in psychotherapy, adequate services and the absence of long-term training programs for local professionals. The goal of this program is to contribute to the improvement of mental health services provided for the Palestinian population in the West Bank as it aims to create a human resource basis and a sustainable mental infrastructure in the West Bank. It also aims to increase the capacities of psychotherapists and mental health institutions by providing them with the needed skills and capabilitiesin order to improve the quality of services provided for the most marginalized groups such as children, women, refugee camps and bedouins. 

Trainees are attending theoretical, intensive and specialized courses at Al-Quds University twice a week, in which they are exposed to different local and guest lecturers over a period of 4 semesters (2 years) and are assigned 1 or 2 individual cases to work with. Each trainee works at a mental health institution while undertaking residency, therefore allowing the trainee to undergo on-the-job clinical training as well as clinical training at other mental health institutions. At Sunna Al-Amal, which is equipped with private rooms for group-oriented supervision and  learning, trainees receive individual and group supervisions along with several clinical seminars during the 2 years of studies.

Beyond the provision of productive tools to deal with violence both within the family and in the public sphere, the project is also expected to yield more distal outcomes of awareness raising. The Palestinian society is in a process of change; however, people often lack the knowledge and tools to deal with the psychological problems that arise from the political situation as well as from the changes that arise from modernization and urbanization. The integral part of psychological treatment and interventions aimed at rehabilitation entail the raising of awareness for various aspects of civil and human rights (e.g. rights of expression, children's rights and women's rights) and thus generate changes in the respective society. Under the supervision of Sunna Al-Amal, several trainees commenced the implementation of 30 community awareness-raising sessions in order to reduce the stigma associated with psychotherapy within the community and 30 internal training workshops for the staff of the 15 partner mental health institutions during 2017.

 

Target Groups:

1) Trainees - who will receive high quality, cross-cultural, accredited and long-term clinical training in psychotherapy, which is currently not available in Palestine.

2) Patients - who are not able to access mental health services. This group will be targeted through activities implemented by the 15 trainees either by treatment services and/or awareness raising sessions.

3) Mental health institutions - which will be reinforced through the 15 trainees who will conduct internal training workshops for the staff, insert new terms, bring new supervision skills and share study materials in pshychotherapy.

4) Individuals and communities - transformational impact is expected on individual basis in the short-term while the community is to be impacted in the long-term